N. Down v Ards Cricket Club Under 15 XI and Graham Cup team on Wed 27 Jul 2011 at 6.15
Ards Cricket Club Lost by 116 runs

Match report A more or less full-strength Under 15's side travelled to local rivals, North Down for this away league fixture. North Down skipper, Ryan Burgess, won the toss and chose to bat with the match on this occasion being played on a very dry and hard grass wicket. Combined with a fast outfield, these were good batting conditions and the Ards bowlers would need to at their best to contain a strong N Down batting line-up. The North Down openers, Harris and Anderson both former Ards players, began positively with Harris hitting 3 boundaries (one off a fortuitous inside edge) in the 1st over before playing across a straight delivery from Owen Roberts to be adjudged lbw off the last ball of the over, to give Ards a welcome breakthrough. Skipper Burgess, yet another former Ards player, strode to the crease and together with Gavin Anderson, they put on a century partnership taking the score to 116 when Burgess retired having reached his fifty (52no), a good but fairly controlled innings containing six 4's and a maximum. Anderson and new batsman, Craig Irvine, took the score on to 145 when Anderson, who also played well for his 42 (including 3 boundaries), was stumped by Robbie Ingham off the bowling of Warren Martin trying to advance down the wicket. Conor Balfour took the next 2 wickets to fall dismissing Irvine (6) who was well caught at mid-off by Conn Crawford and bowling Halliday (2). With Peter McKibbin (1) run out off the last ball of the innings, the North Down innings closed on 153 (including 27 extras). Ross Martin (0-18), Adam Curry (0-21) and Conor Balfour (2-16) were the most economical of the Ards bowlers with Roberts and Warren Martin the other wicket takers. But, in general, there were too many loose deliveries bowled by the below-par Ards bowlers, which the North Down batsmen willingly dispatched leaving Ards needing almost 8 runs an over to win.

The Martin brothers opened for Ards and the score had reached 9 in the 4th over when Warren Martin (3) got in a bit of tangle at the crease and was bowled by Quinn. In the following over, McKibbin struck twice having Joel Ferguson (0) caught at mid-on and bowling Adam Curry (0) with a good delivery which cut back through the 'gate' to leave Ards in deep trouble at 12 for 3. Quinn struck again in his 3rd over bowling Owen Roberts (0) with the Ards score on 19. Ross Martin, who was batting well, and Russell Hughes temporarily stemmed the flow of wickets and took the score to 31 when Hughes was rather unfortunate to be bowled for 8 by a delivery from Irvine that kept low. Irvine then picked up the wickets of Crooks and Nutt off his next 2 deliveries to complete his hat-trick and also had Robbie Ingham caught at gully of the last ball of what had proved to be a dramatic over and one that had torn the heart out of the Ards innings. Irvine wasn't finished yet and in his last over he picked up his fifth wicket bowling Ross Martin, who had batted patiently for 17, to finish with the remarkable figures of 3-1-7-5. Gavin Anderson took the final Ards wicket of Balfour (1) caught by Quinn at silly point as the Ards innings ended on a rather abysmal 37 that could have been even more embarrassing had it not been for Ross Martin's valuable contribution.

Unfortunately, the majority of the Ards batsmen seemed unable to handle Irvine's slow bowling even though the ball wasn't doing much. Too many were trying to play off the back foot when a front foot shot was required and others were trying to play attacking shots when a basic forward defensive stroke was what was needed. This was a very poor batting display with 7 players failing to trouble the scorers. Of more concern though, was the fact that it seemed that some had accepted that a crushing defeat to their 'more illustrious' neighbours was inevitable even before the game had started so perhaps the nature of the performance wasn't that surprising.

With former Ards players Burgess, Anderson and to a lesser degree Harris contributing the majority of the North Down runs in this game, it is difficult not to adopt an 'if only' perspective on things. While North Down may not have had a full strength team on this occasion, before the departure of these players, Ards has tended to have the upper hand in games at this age group but as shown by the outcome of this game and whilst acknowledging that this is a very young Ards team, there now appears to be an increasingly large gap between the teams which again demonstrates the challenge that the Ards club faces as it seeks to re-establish itself.

With their next game coming up later this week against Dundrum, the Ards players have an opportunity to bounce back and re-establish some credibility. Hopefully, the mental attitude of the players will be much more positive and the level of performance on the field shows a significant improvement.

N. Down Batting
Player name RunsMB4s6sSR
for 6 wickets
153 (0.0 overs)
J Harris lbw  O Roberts 12
G Anderson st  W Martin 41
R Burgess Retired Out  52
C Irvine ct  C Balfour 6
A McCaughey Not Out  12
J Halliday b  C Balfour 2
P McKibbin Run out  1
B Quinn  
A Marshall  

Ards Cricket Club Under 15 XI and Graham Cup team Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Owen Roberts3.0028128.009.33
Ross Martin3.001800.006.00
Joel Ferguson3.002400.008.00
Warren Martin4.0036136.009.00
Adam Curry4.002100.005.25
Conor Balfour3.001628.005.33

Ards Cricket Club Under 15 XI and Graham Cup team Batting
Player Name RMB4s6sSRCatchesStumpingsRun outs
for 10 wickets

(0.0 overs)
Ross Martin b  C Irvine 17
Warren Martin b  B Quinn 3
Joel Ferguson ct  P McKibbin 0
Adam Curry b  P McKibbin 0
Owen Roberts b  B Quinn 0
Russell Hughes b  C Irvine 0
Michael Crooks b  C Irvine 0
Taylor Nutt b  C Irvine 0
Robbie Ingham ct  C Irvine 0
Conn Crawford Not Out  0
Conor Balfour ct  Anderson 1

N. Down Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
P McKibbin3.01824.002.67
B Quinn3.011025.003.33
J Halliday3.001000.003.33
C Irvine3.01751.402.33
G Anderson0.40010.000.00